Blogging and writing

A Blogging Report Card

A blogging report card - illustration of a report card with grades

I would guess that most of us, at some point or another, feel insecure about our blogs, especially in comparison to other bloggers.  Going down that comparison road is the freeway to Crazytown, so there’s got to be a better way – a sort of healthy blogging report card.

Reflecting on how your blog is doing can be a good thing if it helps you to grow and develop as a blogger.  A good way to begin that reflection is by revisiting what your purpose is in blogging.  Why are you doing this whole blogging thing in the first place?  Perhaps you’ve strayed from that purpose and need to get back on track, or maybe your purpose has shifted since your last reflective check-in.  It can be easy to get caught up in the flow and start to drift from what you’re really doing it for, and I’ve noticed that anytime I start to get a bit disenchanted with blogging it’s because I’ve started to drift away from my purpose.

Your purpose will help in identifying the aspects of blogging that are most important to you, and therefore most deserving of some careful reflection.  You may be working on regular posting, engaging within the blogging community, attracting visitors from social media, etc.  You won’t be doing perfectly in any of these areas, because blogging will always be a work in progress.  None of us is perfect, nor will we ever be.  Instead, consider the progress you’ve made over the last 6 months, or whatever time frame you’d like to use.  This isn’t a matter of passing or failing; there’s no such thing as failing at blogging.  The more relevant question is, are you satisfied or unsatisfied?  What indicators are there to support that evaluation?

Taking into account the areas where you are and are not satisfied, the next step is to give some thought to what will support your learning and development as a blogger.  That may be as simple as giving yourself more time to soak up the ideas other bloggers are dishing out, or it might mean something more structured like finding an online course to help you explore new things.  It may mean putting in some extra work on aspects of your blog that you’re not entirely satisfied with.

Throughout this reflection process, I think it’s crucial to stay focused on your own blog and what you want from it.  If you’re looking for ways to feel inadequate, by comparing yourself to other blogs you’ll inevitably find ways to feel bad about yourself.  There’s always something that someone else is doing better than you, and I think we all have something in particular that tends to set off negative feelings.  I’m usually pretty good about not getting bogged down in comparisons, but when I do, it’s to do with seeing other bloggers who have a lot fewer followers than I do but quite a bit more engagement per post.  It’s ridiculous, and it accomplishes absolutely nothing, so I’m pretty quick to put the kibosh on that line of thinking.  Still, it’s worth acknowledging because I think we all go there sometimes, even if it’s only very briefly, and it’s totally valid to have those feelings.

Right now I’m at a bit of lull in terms of where I’m going with the blog and personally as a blogger.  It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there are no major aspects that I’m unsatisfied with.  Before the world fell apart I was working on generating a little more traffic from Pinterest, but aside from that, I don’t really have anything in mind that I’m working towards.  Not that the blog is going away; it’s just that I like to have directions in mind to keep myself moving forward as a blogger.

How do you feel about how your blog is doing?  What direction are you wanting to take it?

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53 thoughts on “A Blogging Report Card”

  1. Great blog post!! Yeah, I HATE the comparison feeling. Sonya’s always comparing her book sales to other indie author’s book sales, and likewise with book reviews and starred ratings. It breaks my heart on her behalf. And then she’ll tell me that a self-published author just sold, like, 50,000 copies of their book, and I’m like, “Sonya, that’s not even credible. Published books don’t sell that well.” (I think.) But it makes me sad when people compare themselves and feel inferior.

    I guess my blog’s purpose is self-expression, forming meaningful connections with others, feeling heard, and processing whatever’s just happened in my life. It just feels like a safe place. What I’ve noticed, though, that makes me sad is that the more honest and open I am, the more people tend to run screaming from my blog. [Shrug.] I dunno. There are times when I’m not able to stay… calm? I might lash out into judgy mode, or anger mode, or critical mode, or whatever, but that’s just because I’m in a constant state of flux. (Isn’t everyone? I’m seriously not sure…)

    1. I agree with Ashley, it is unfortunate. I often think similar things as you, because I like to rant from time to time. On more confident days I think, well that’s who I am so I might as well get the ranting out so there’s no surprises in the future! Lol. At the same time there’s good ways and bad ways to rant probably, so I try not to just rant about whatever because that, could get …interesting. Good job even being interested in expressing yourself and processing your life. Whether people realize it or not we want honesty. πŸ™‚

  2. I haven’t even got to the Pinterest point and honestly don’t think I will now. But, I have heard many get a lot of traffic on there and find it to be a good way to share and build their ‘brand’.
    When you said “by comparing yourself to other blogs you’ll inevitably find ways to feel bad about yourself”, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve thought of giving up because I think how crap my blog is, how difficult it is for me to keep up with content or other blogs that I want to support, how shit it looks aesthetically.. all you do when you start feeling like that is seeing how good other blogs are in comparison. You’re right, it’s a one way ticket to shitsville if you start comparing.

    I’ve not really taken much time to reflect on my blog journey in quite a while, though I did recently update the banner/header as that’s something I’ve wanted to do in a while in an effort to open up the ‘niche’ a little. Feeling penned in just makes you claustrophobic after a while. I hope you can take some time to nurture your interests, to think what you’d like to do next, to get some inspiration. I feel like this quite often (depression also) and it’s not easy. Give yourself the space to reignite the spark for pushing forward with it because whatever you do or however you change / keep things the same, we’ll all be here and we’ll all love you and what you have to say!
    Caz xx

  3. I feel that my blog is off to a good start! Just under 90 followers in 7.5 weeks. However, I am thinking it will be difficult to get even more followers from here on out! I’m still planning to employ the same methods I’ve used to secure this “90,” so we will see. πŸ™‚

  4. We haven’t thought much about other people’s blogs in comparison to ours except that we do free wordpress, so we try not to use space with graphics. We would like to use graphics. And we don’t. We don’t really understand WordPress. We presume at some point WordPress will say we are out of space

    Our purpose is to try to help alleviate our suffering long-term and help others in the process. We are one: when we heal us, we heal you; when we contribute to your healing, we contribute to our healing

    Building relationships has been the most pleasant surprise from blogging. Ashley, you were our first WordPress Friend. We are so grateful for your friendship. We love you!

    1. Love you too! I was also not expecting to form such amazing relationships when I first got started blogging. It turned out to be a very pleasant surprise!

  5. Great post! I try really hard not to compare mine to others but sometimes it’s just really difficult. We just have to keep in mind that we all have our own journey πŸ™‚

  6. Oh yes, I think ,most of us have been there Ashley. I’m constantly reflecting on my blog and I think I spend far too much time, getting bogged down in the technical side.

    I’ve ‘lost’ my site (once or twice), probably by pressing the wrong buttons, and as you know, I’ve been unable to comment or like. Whenever I get ‘stuck’ I end up reading too much techie info but still go in circles trying to ‘fix things.

    I should spend more time on my blog content, I’m sure rather trying to make it look good. But now I’ve fixed a few tech issues, I’ll be able to do that.

  7. My blog is doing better during this time. Part of it is because I have more time to read books and am posting more reviews. Part of it is also because I’ve had more time to pay attention to it, and engage with other blogs. But part of it is because everyone just has more time to be on blogs, generally. I think that will taper off, though, because there is a distinct limit in how much time I can spend on it without burning out. I’m sure other people feel the same. I will continue doing what I’m doing though, reading and posting book reviews. Great topic.

  8. I know for sure that I would publish far more posts on my blog if I stopped worrying about what others think and just wrote and pressed the button. I love reading your posts though Ashley so keep going, in whatever way suits you. Xxx

  9. When I started out blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. It was friends who had encouraged me to publish real life short stories and poems online. But as I continued, I just enjoyed taking some time out to write about all sorts of subjects.
    This past year I started to delve into fiction. I never had a clear purpose for the blog, it is just another little avenue to get communicate what is in my mind and heart and express myself. I guess my only theme is the one in the title of my blog – I am a LEARNER AT LOVE, always learning.

  10. As to engagement, I personally feel that not having posts readable in the reader reduces engagement. For me the reader improves readabilityβ€” although you do happen to have a good font, the font and colours make a difference. And the extra step to go through onto someone’s site, although seems small, definitely adds inertia.

    I agree with you on comparisons etc! An important thing is to stay relaxed and laid-back about it all, just trying to have fun :). When I do find myself stressing too much, I take a break and read other people’s stuff more. As long as you are doing something positive you can feel good πŸ™‚.

    “How do you feel about how your blog is doing? What direction are you wanting to take it?”

    Funny thing is when I started writing on WordPress I wasn’t even aware that it was a platform and that random people would be viewing my stuff πŸ˜†. It seems crazy to think that’s how naive I was, but I really knew nothing about WordPress. So, consequently, I’m happy to have any followers or engagement at all! Lol. I don’t view increasing followers as necessarily a good or a bad thingβ€” it’s just great to be receiving so much encouragement from people!

    1. I didn’t know anything about WordPress either when I started, and had no idea about the engagement factor.

      I know what you mean about being able to read posts in the Reader. That’s something I should probably reconsider.

      1. “I didn’t know anything about WordPress either when I started, and had no idea about the engagement factor.”

        Haha! Cool πŸ™‚. Funny how things work out. I sometimes find myself remembering this, and it feels kind of surreal! I’m doing exactly the same thing as in my first few weeks of blogging, but it’s like another world! All these people I’m now friends with! I remember I didn’t even comment on other people’s blogs for quite a while!

        Cool :).

  11. Interesting post, thanks for sharing.

    It can be difficult not to compare but also difficult to compare. πŸ˜‰ Surprisingly enough I don’t dwell on this. I think I am realistic about my content in that I don’t expect loads of people to flock to me. Right now me and my blog are in a sort of constant flux. My purpose is to provide a platform for people to get to know me as a person and an author. I don’t have a lot of authorial stuff on there right now because I’m nervous to write about my WIP and I (overthink) writing other fiction. Although I have in the last couple months started a flash fiction challenge after being inspired by Carrot Ranch’s flash fiction challenge. I figure the more I write the better and I really like how flash fiction pushes you because you can only use so many words. By now you know I am not good with brevity. πŸ˜‰

    I lost all the content of my initial blog (my fault; abandoned it for a while came back had to start over, didn’t back up). I’m still floating around trying to identify just what I want to provide, what I think could be interesting and useful to people. I think reading is important for a writer and I like to read so I’m happy doing some book blogging. It made sense to me that maybe people would be interested in what an author/writer reads and how they approach and think about what they read. But then I get hung up worrying I might run people off who don’t care about book blogging but might otherwise take interest in me as a writer. I look forward to the day that I’m more confident in my blog but especially when I can share more about my book and where I’m at with that.

    I like your suggestion to reflect on your blog, what satisfies you and what does not, and what your goals are. It’s a good reminder that that shouldn’t be a once in a great while thing. Our blogs I think can and should be as dynamic as we are. You write great posts so I hope you pat yourself on the back on a regular basis. I admire the effort you put into them.

  12. Great post. I agree that comparison is the thief of joy. As for me, my original purpose in my website blog was to inform. I’ve done a good job keeping with weekly posting for over a year. Engagement has always been a challenge. I’ll just keep writing weekly because I enjoy it, because it helps the SEO for my site, and because my clients find my articles useful when I share them.

  13. Great post! I don’t necessarily compare with other bloggers as, for me, each one is a different experiment to connect with the readers in newer ways..

  14. I love this! It inspired me to really think about why I started my blog in the first place and to put that purpose into every post! I’ve recently been looking for inspiration from other bloggers and using self help books for inspiration and it’s really helped me expand my knowledge!

  15. You’re so right Ashley! Comparing ourselves to others can easily cross the line from being motivational to unhealthy. As a very new blogger, I completely understand that feeling of insecurity but the main reason we all do this is our passion so that’s what we should focus on. I’ll follow your blog and look forward to reading more from you x

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